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3GT Finalizing GTD Return with Lexus

Jack Hawksworth confirmed to return, team finalizing remainder of lineup for 2018 season…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

3GT Racing is finalizing its return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with up to two full-season Lexus RC F GT3 entries, according to team principal Paul Gentilozzi.

The Michigan-based team is at this week’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona with a single Lexus for Jack Hawksworth, who will return alongside a to-be-announced Silver-rated driver.

“Jack is committed,” Gentilozzi told Sportscar365. “We took Jack’s option and he’s an integral part of the team.

“We have to get the second car done commercially before I can hire second drivers.

“We’re talking to a lot of people globally, including Sage [Karam], but I’ve got to be sure I have a deal first. We’re running out of time.”

Hawksworth, Karam, Scott Pruett and Robert Alon made up the team’s full-season lineup this year, with the Silver-rated Pruett among the leading options for the second car, should sufficient sponsorship be found.

3GT, along with Acura outfit Michael Shank Racing, are both transitioning into full customer efforts following a single year of increased manufacturer support permitted by IMSA.

“Scott’s still deciding what he’s going to do and hopefully we’ll have some idea in the next two weeks,” Gentilozzi said.

“We’re hunting [for] sponsors that would be interested in having Scott as their full-time Silver, just as we’re hunting Silvers with money for the second car.”

Alon, meanwhile, is unlikely to return to the team, as the former Prototype Challenge competitor is eyeing a move to the Prototype class and tested with JDC-Miller Motorsports this week.

Gentilozzi said he’s confident of having two cars for Daytona and could potentially “piecemeal” the second entry for the remainder of the year, with lots of interest for partial-season programs.

‘Better and Smarter’ Team After Mixed First Season in GTD

Gentilozzi said he feels the team is “better” and “smarter” following a challenging debut in GTD, which was marred by a number of incidents.

While not reaching the podium, the pair of Lexus entries showed improved pace in the second half of the season, highlighted by Karam’s class pole at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

“We learned so much about the cars: how to work on them, how to be efficient working on them. They’re reliable,” Gentilozzi said.

“The mistakes we made in 2017 strategically we are pretty confident we’ve learned from.

“We’re committed not to let drivers crash the car because it takes away from your ability to focus and compete. I think we get it.

“We didn’t race in ’15 as a team and we had to play our way into shape.

“I think we’re better now, smarter now. I feel good about our engineering. I feel good about the car itself, and I’m hoping we get an equitable BoP and can earn our way to the podium.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. jason

    December 6, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Jack Hawksworth was the only driver who showed the potential of the Lexus. Remember this car won a bunch during GT Open this year. The performance is there, but the 3GT team had 1 good driver and 3 underperforming ones in 2017.

    Need to get silver drivers who can keep 4 wheels on the track without bent fenders before handing off to Jack.

    • John Bertha

      December 6, 2017 at 11:23 am

      I think it said in the article that Sage Karam had the team’s only Pole?

    • gtgianlu

      December 6, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Gt open is not a benchmark. The only race in Blancpain sprint at Nurburgring Gp never saw it near the top 15

  2. pdxracefan

    December 6, 2017 at 11:55 am

    A second car for the whole year already sounding shaky. Don’t look for it beyond maybe Sebring.

  3. Curtis

    December 6, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    I’m interested to see how they’ll do without factory involvement. Paul Gentilozzi doesn’t have the best of track records when it comes to operating a team in my opinion. I have always been perplexed as to why Lexus chose his outfit to run their team. Oh well, best of luck to them. I hope it all works out.

    • Binky

      December 6, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      Pretty much every decision Lexus has made since entering GT3 years ago has been perplexing.

      • Curtis

        December 7, 2017 at 9:34 am

        As they say on the street, true dat.
        However, I find Gentilozzi’s credibility to be lacking. I think the Lexus team did alright in their first season, all things considered. Of course, it was a factory effort and that certainly didn’t hurt. Taking the whole “factory team” concept in to consideration, it wasn’t a spectacular year for 3GT. I’m left wondering what may have been had another team headed up the project.

        • Bob

          December 7, 2017 at 2:39 pm

          True Dat. True Dat. I mean, who’s the engineering brain trust at 3GT/RSR/Rocketsports that will take them to success? Hopefully not the same men that took the GT2 Jaguars into embarrassment. I’ve heard that Toyota Japan was asking around: why was Gentilozzi picked? They don’t understand either! Paul finding sponsors – I don’t know about that. He still legally owes RHR (the indy driver) a few million! Always good to have new brands like Lexus participate. But this whole deal is not the best for success.

  4. Overthetop

    December 9, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    What in Hell does “…not to let drivers crash cars…” mean? Does 3GT racing tell its drivers “go crash the cars if you want to” during team meetings? That is the most stupid stupid statement to date in the young 21st century! It “takes away from your ability to focus and compete…”?!! F’g dugh!! Geez Paul, you are truly an out-of-the-box thinker!! How does someone making such a stupid comment, and apparently thinking it actually means anything, get a contract from a manufacturer? As to the drivers, I’ve been a fan of Pruett the past several years, but his driving this year indicates that he’s lost a few steps. He was always at least the equal of any of his teammates in Ganassi’s prototype, so I don’t know if he’s lost a step or two or whether his driving style just doesn’t fit well with cars such as the Lexus.

  5. Lexus Texas

    December 10, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Looking like they don’t have the ability to generate sponsorship and retain personnel. The flow of progress will probably be disrupted with their inability to maintain consistency of crew and drivers. Hope this doesn’t chase lexus away.

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